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Teaching Project Management with the Case Method

Coordinator: Jan-Philipp Büchler (Dortmund)

    • 1. Dortmund Center for Business Case Studies. A cross-functional research center serving project management education, Jan-Philipp Büchler, Dortmund Center for Business Case Studies

The Dortmund Center for Business Case Studies has been established in 2011 as a cross-functional research center with an emphasis on empirical research in internationalization of small and midsized enterprises (SME) in consumer goods. The research program is based on field research projects in close cooperation with SMEs from different sectors in consumer goods such as apparel, beverages, cosmetics, electronics, food, home care etc. A special focus of the research program covers important fields of project management in relation to internationalization and market entry strategies, green- and brownfield investment projects, organization and cooperation of value chain activities across borders as well as conflict management in cross-functional / cross-border projects. Results of the research projects are published in case studies for education in project management. The published case studies are tailored to the requirements of teaching applied project management in master study programs including various teaching formats such as role play or group work based on real business situations in complex environments. This presentation intends to explain the immense opportunity of the case study approach to project management and invites researchers and practitioners from fields of marketing, supply chain, controlling, information technology and systems to contribute to the research activities and program of the center.

2. Euromonitor International – How market intelligence inspires applied teaching in project management, Amber Wajahat / Michael Parcurar, Euromonitor International, London

Established in 1972, Euromonitor International is the world’s leading independent provider of global strategic intelligence on industries, countries, and consumers. Euromonitor prouds on being the strategic research partner of the Dortmund Center for Business Case Studies. From socio-economic context to intimate detail on the smallest products, markets or companies, EuromonitorInternational offers detailed and unbiased content for every region, country, category and channel. Euromonitor International researches 205 countries with extended analysis for 80 national markets. A short introduction to the state-of-the-art database ‘Passport-GMID’, illustrates different approaches how Euromonitor International supports case study writing and teaching. These databases as well as focused reports and industry analysis facilitate desk and field research and provide at the same time good sources for compiling comprehensive teaching notes. Examples for linking management theory to business reality are demonstrated based on case studies and teaching notes published by the Dortmund Center for Business Case studies. In addition to these databases, Euromonitor International offers whitepapers on research methods as well as practical guides to statistical analysis on a regular basis and free of charge. These publications serve students and researchers with practical and hands-on information for filing research reports and project or master thesis.

3. Conquering the cleaning segment. An interactive case study of internal & external competition in project management, Jan-Philipp Büchler, Dortmund Center for Business Case Studies

The case study is based on a real business situation set in the German market for home care products. The market leader in most product segments, Henkel KGaA, sees intensifying competition on home turf and is required to react. An aggressive competitor, Reckitt Benckiser PLC, launched a major product innovation with distinctive new features in the segment and is rapidly gaining market shares. Students are assigned dedicated roles and represent directors of different business functions at Henkel KGaA such as Marketing, Sales, Controlling, Supply Chain Management and Research & Development. To this end, participants receive a detailed case information consisting of a general and a role specific briefings. The common objective for the participants is to develop a strategy to counteract this product launch and reconquer the market shares. However, particular interests driven by target setting in each of the business functions require discussions and assessment of different options to follow. The setting of the case study provides the stage for conflicting interests between different business functions and allows participants to experience several trade-offs in business decisions such as portfolio complexity versus profitability. Conflicts need to be addressed and solved in order to realize a new product development project and launch plan in time. The presentation illustrates the main lines of conflict arising in a cross-functional project and shows the application of different project management tools in applied teaching based on the class experience in EURO MP 32 (winter 2011/2012).

4. Conflicts in project management. A case study based learning experience, Irina Rozenthal, Euro MPM

Project managers acknowledge conflicts to be of high importance for the success of a project. Still the professional approach to conflict management lacks a profound and formalized framework or model that fits project management standards such as PMBOK®. A significant amount of time in project management is spent for solving conflicts, while preventing conflicts starts with simple observation, which can be best practiced in case studies. To suggest a ready path for managing conflicts in project management the process of dealing with conflicts is presented as a tool for efficient project managers. The suggested process framework was partly applied in a real project business case. The study of conflict environment was performed in the class room through observation and assessment of the factors that influence conflicts in project and empiric observations support the results deduced from theory. For the total promotion of conflict management in project management the standardized approach is being worked out as contribution on conflict management to PMBOK Guide.

5. Brainpooling - Workshop: Searching for case study topics and collecting material, defining collaboration in case study writing and publishing

We plan to have group discussions for:

  • searching for case study topics and collecting material
  • defining collaboration in case study writing and publishing